NHL Trade Winds: Eye on the Islanders' market

[Updates continue at bottom. Latest: reflecting the Campoli/Comrie trade...]

Watching pre-deadline NHL trades to gauge what, if anything, the Islanders can salvage from the 2009 NHL Trade Deadline

Trying something a little different here: For the next couple of weeks, we'll keep an eye on each new NHL trade, then ask what that trade means for the market for Garth Snow's rentals and rejects. The Islanders don't have much to draw interest, but in Year Zero of the rebuild, Snow should do his best to salvage more picks for whatever short-termers he can sell. (Check this post for a theoretical look at the Islanders depth chart heading into next year.)

[Update Feb. 17: For a great insight into how a GM handles the deadline, check this from Kings GM Dean Lombardi, a progressive exec who could teach Snow a PR trick or two about engaging fans over with a little info disclosure.]

[Update Feb. 18: For a blogger tour of what every team needs or can sell at the deadline, check Illegal Curve's great compilation. The Islanders write-up is done by the erudite Ken of Islanders Outsider, who again hits it out of the (Richard) Park.]

I will update this post with each new (significant) trade -- but I will not edit my previous thoughts in each update. That way, after the deadline we can look back at just how wrong or insane I am. I may get Mike to provide counterpoints when applicable, to demonstrate two forms of insanity.

To keep this front-paged through the next two weeks, we're throwing this up as a FanPost (those are the mini-blog posts in the right margin that any reader/visitor can make).

So, on to the first move (and first rumored move)...

Feb. 16:

Montreal grabs Mathieus Schneider and a conditional pick from Atlanta for a 2nd and a 3rd.

[Update: For more on the D-man market, check out the discussion at Pension Plan Puppets about Tomas Kaberle. I think they generally overvalue him just a tad, but it's worth noting -- and it's a good example of what you can do with a reader-posted FanPost (hint, hint).]

Schneider is a pending UFA -- a straight-up rental, who's had a rough year delayed by injury. But he's turned it on lately and can add to the Habs power play, which has desperately needed the help since a certain Mark Streit was set free (*maniacal laughter*).

Pierre LeBrun sort of sounds like he's trying to convince us Don Waddell is not the Tkachuk-and-Zhitnik-Waddell of years past. But LeBrun's overall point is strong, I think: Waddell saw the best value he expected to get from Schneider, so he struck a deal now, with a somewhat desperate team, rather than wait for the home run (i.e. wait for a Waddell-esque counterpart?) and the risk of losing a bidder:

Waddell didn't waste his opportunity. For starters, there was always the chance the Canadiens, under tremendous pressure to act with the team in free fall, could opt for a different player if they couldn't come to terms with Atlanta. The clock was ticking and Waddell feared the Canadiens had another deal in the works for another defenseman.

What does this mean for GM Garth Snow (GMGS, in the parlance of our times)?

Well, unfortunately, Snow doesn't have any skilled UFA blueliners to deal. In fact, the biggest expendable asset he has on the blueline is Brendan Witt -- and that's if a playoff contender sees Witt as the warrior we remember and not the misfit he's been in Scott Gordon's system. But as we know, Witt is signed for two more years at $3 million per. Which makes me think if anyone takes him, they're going to want to send some salary -- not just picks -- back our way. That may change what Snow can grab, roster-wise, and it could lower the quality of pick (if any) he gets back.

Feb. 17:

Boston rumored to be looking at Erik Cole from Edmonton in exchange for Matt Lashoff and Vladimir Sobotka.

We'll try not to do too many updates based on rumors, but this one appears to have legs -- or is at least plausible, not some hallucinogenic "Malkin to L.A." thing. (Note: If Cole is dealt, we will update this to reflect reality.)

What does it mean for GMGS?

What Snow does have is a UFA center in Mike Comrie that a contender could use as a secondary scorer/power play contributor. Comrie is not in the physical "power forward" mold that Cole is, but: Cole's physicality has declined in recent years, and Comrie -- particularly when motivated by, say, a walk-year or the playoffs -- can certainly battle when he feels like it.

Boston fans like Sobotka, the way home fans tend to do. If Snow brought back a young roster asset like that (instead of a pick) for a Comrie rental, I'd consider that fair.

Feb. 20:

New York Islanders (hey, that's us!) trade defenseman Chris Campoli and center Mike Comrie to ... the Ottawa Senators? for forward Dean McAmmond and San Jose's 1st-round pick.

Obviously there is (and will be) plenty more on this in the main thread, but we'll try not to let it spoil our understanding of what Snow's market is.

This one stunned a lot of people because the Senators are simply not going to make the playoffs. Comrie is a UFA -- so when I mulled Comrie's value above, it was his value to a contender, not a team that's already laden with big contracts. As such, Comrie and McAmmond are pretty much a wash: Comrie wants out, the Isles are done with him, McAmmond will help give them depth for the rest of the season with Richard Park (and many others) hurt. Bryan Murray is acting like he wanted to re-sign Comrie this summer, but you just don't give up assets for the "chance" to sign a non-star like Comrie. You wait till summer when you know what else is out there.

Murray's desire for Campoli is understandable -- he's still young (24) and under contract for one more year, after which he'll still be a RFA. But Campoli, while skilled and fast, isn't more than a #4 or (maaaaybe) #3 D-man on a serious team. He's never taken control of the Islanders powerplay, I don't see a better team using him in that role. So a first-round pick -- even if it's your extra, 29th spot pick? Doesn't make sense.

What does it mean for GMGS?

I'll be honest: I've no idea what this means for the market, because I don't know who understands what Murray is doing here. But what it does do is eliminate Snow's two most tradable remaining assets. He can still move an Andy Hilbert (although Hilbert's value is likely higher to the Islanders than what he'd fetch from someone else in a trade). And if Bill Guerin waives his NMC, maybe teams will bid with 2nd-rounders for that. Brendan WItt, meanwhile, carries such a salary comittment that I don't know anyone (outside of Murray) who would pay anything but cents on the dollar for him.


<em>Submitted FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of this blog or SB Nation. If you're reading this statement, you pass the fine print legalese test. Four stars for you.</em>

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